Feel like you are managing a lot of things at once? Just consider this real-life locum’s story.
Michelle Chadbourne, MSN, NNP-BC, is the mother of five children between the ages of 3 and 17. She is also a neonatal nurse practitioner who is currently working two—that’s right, two—locum tenens jobs in two different states. She regularly flies back and forth between New York City and her current home in Colorado.
It’s not the first time she’s juggled two different locum assignments at once. In the past, she worked two different locum tenens jobs in New York.
But how on earth, you might ask, does she work locum tenens in two different places?
For one thing, she has a very supportive husband at home who keeps the family running when she’s away. Michelle is also extremely passionate about the work that she does.
“It comes down to loving what you do,” says Michelle. “I really love being a neonatal nurse practitioner. It’s very cool to get to go to different facilities and meet other people who love neonatology.”
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How she makes it work
Michelle worked full-time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for many years before taking the plunge into locum tenens work. Her hours got reduced, so she contemplated part-time work as a stop-gap, as her family was planning to move across the country from Florida to Colorado.
But then she learned that she could become a locum tenens provider. At first, she saw locums work as a temporary solution that she could do while she and her family made the transition to a new home. She figured that she could do it until she got another full-time position.
“Then I fell in love with it, and I haven’t stopped,” she says.
Getting and staying organized is key to making it work for Michelle.
Every three months, Michelle sits down and puts together a master calendar. She knows the number of shifts that she plans to work in both states. At Children’s Hospital Colorado, she typically takes on 16 shifts in the neonatal intensive care unit every six weeks. At New York Presbyterian, she typically works nine to 12 shifts during a six-week period.
“It’s actually not that hard,” she says. “It is a lot of moving puzzle pieces, but I group my shifts together.”
That means she might fly into New York, check into her hotel room, work six straight shifts, then fly home to Colorado. Then she might have a break before working three to five straight shifts in Colorado.
Those breaks are critical, and there’s always a designated place for them in Michelle’s calendar.
“When I’m home, we can hang out and play,” she says. “I get to be a mom, and we go hiking and go on little trips and just do life with the kids.”
Plus, she gets to show her kids that a mom can get a master’s degree and have an amazing career and save lives, which is very important to her.
Michelle also stays in frequent contact with her Staff Care recruiter, Justin McCormick, who she calls “incredible.” She has learned that she can count on him to always be there.
“Anytime I have had a problem, it doesn’t matter what time it is, I can text him or call him, and it never fails. If he can’t solve a problem, he can find out who can,” she says. “He always follows through and closes the loop with me.”
Working with Justin and having her travel arrangements made by the company are two big advantages to working locum tenens through Staff Care, she adds. She is so grateful for that assistance, because it makes her life easier and enables her to do the work that she does.
“They make it so smooth and easy to do,” she says. “Staff Care really does take the stress away from coordinating things.”
Advice for others considering part-time or full-time locums
Maybe working two different locum tenens jobs isn’t the right choice for you—and that’s totally okay, says Michelle. While it works for her, a part-time locum tenens position might be a much better fit for someone else, and those opportunities are out there.
“Not every locums place wants a full-time person,” she says. “I think this is good information to get out there. You can do locums and still have a full-time job, if you want.”
Meanwhile, Michelle plans to keep on keepin’ on.
“It is so nice to get out of your home NICU and experience neonatology where you don’t own the extra ‘stuff’ at the hospital,” she says, referring to office politics. “I get to come and do what I love to do and then leave. I don’t have to worry about any of the work drama.”
STAFF CARE has part-time and full-time locum tenens assignments across the country, for physicians, nurse practitioners and other advanced practice providers.
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